The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Former general Leslie accuses Tories of smear over moving expenses

  • Print

OTTAWA - A retired general who once led Canada's troops in Afghanistan is accusing the federal Conservatives of a "personal attack" over his moving expenses to undermine his new role as a Liberal adviser.

Former lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie brushed off what he characterized as a partisan smear Sunday, saying he's been shot at by "real bullets" and can withstand the scrutiny that comes with working for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

The 35-year Canadian Forces veteran posted the comments online the same day the Defence Minister said he would ask his department to explain how it approved in-city moving expenses of more than $72,000 for Leslie — a Rob Nicholson said appeared "grossly excessive."

"In the meantime, it is important for Andrew Leslie to explain why he believes this is a reasonable expense for hard working Canadians to absorb," Nicholson said in a statement. "This is a matter of judgment and the responsible use of taxpayers dollars."

Leslie told CTV News, which aired the story Saturday based on a government document, that he did not break any rules and that most of the moving expenses went to real estate fees.

CTV did not say how it obtained the document, but Nicholson's office said Sunday it was released under the Access to Information Act.

Leslie did not explain in his statement how he concluded the Tories were behind the story.

It aired just a week before Leslie, touted as a candidate in the next federal election, is to address a Liberal convention in Montreal.

Leslie said Sunday that like all Canadian Forces personnel who retire after 20 or more years of service, he was offered and accepted a standard benefit that allows veterans a final move to anywhere in Canada.

In Leslie's case, he and his family decided to move from their Ottawa house to a smaller one nearby.

"After moving homes 18 times in the service of my country, I was glad to make a new house in Ottawa our new, permanent home," he said in the statement.

"Each step of the process is overseen by a third-party supplier, and independent approvals for every expenditure are required, as directed by the Treasury Board of Canada. Costs are paid directly to the suppliers (real estate agents, movers etc.) by the Department of National Defence."

Leslie said that after retiring, he joined the federal Liberal Party because he felt "it was time for a change in how politics is conducted" in Canada.

"I saw how the Conservative Party often attacks those people that might dare to disagree with them," adding all too often the tactic is to make the issue personal, not about differences in policy or vision.

Now that he has joined Trudeau's team as a senior adviser on defence and foreign policy, the Conservatives have made him the target of a just such a personal attack, Leslie said.

"I can take it. I have been shot at by real bullets. What is disappointing is that this particular attack may raise questions over a military retirement benefit and I do not think veterans deserve to have another measure called into question."

— With a file from Joan Bryden.

Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Spring fashion trends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local-(Standup photo)- A wood duck swims through the water with fall refections in Kildonan Park Thursday afternoon.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google